Brother Joachim (Stephen) Oros, 1912-2005

A remembrance by Brother Mat Zemel SVD


Brother Joachim (Stephen) Oros died Nov. 7, 2005, at the Techny residence. He was 93 and had been a Divine Word Missionary for 71 years.

Born in Bridgeport, Conn., Joachim entered the Society at Techny in 1931 and professed vows in 1934.

He was sent to Bordentown when that house first opened, and then in 1944 he was assigned to Conesus, N.Y., where he went to work for O-Neh-Da Vineyards, which was then owned and operated by the Society of the Divine Word. Joachim worked in the winery first as a salesman for ten years and then as a truck driver for more than 20 years.

I first met this gentleman in the early 1960s, when I, too, worked for the winery. In the mid 1970s, the Society of the Divine Word turned over management of the winery to a family. Joachim was told that he could no longer make trips to Florida to deliver wine and so he quit his job. A few days later he tried to get it back, but the managers would not take him back. He then asked for a transfer to Miramar, where he worked in the gardens. In the early 1980s, when the house was sold he moved across the street to the retreat house and continued to garden. In the mid 1990s, after being sick for a few years, he again was assigned to Techny.

Joachim was a kind man who often thought first of others. He had many friends wherever he lived. In the seventies, he loved to go to Miramar for the Thanksgiving holiday and visit with his old friends and share a nip or two with them, but I believe that he himself did not drink.

While I was in the novitiate at Conesus in the early 1960s, Joachim was having problems with his back, and he asked for permission to have some of the novices who worked at the winery to help him on his daily deliveries. On the day it was my turn, we left Conesus after breakfast and headed straight to his chiropractor.

Then we continued on to our first stop, just south of Buffalo, N.Y. On the way, we had enough time for five decades of the rosary. He led, I answered. Then it was on to some cheap but good food at a truck stop. Our second stop was a few miles away down the road. The third stop was further—enough time for five more decades of the rosary.

Between the third and fourth stops, we had enough time for the litanies of the Blessed Mother, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph all from memory. He led, I answered. After the fourth stop it was time to head home, but we had enough time for five more decades of the rosary. That was a typical day in Joachim’s life on the road.

Joachim helped with a clambake that we had at Miramar in the early ’80s—one of the best I ever had. Joachim, who had a license to dig clams, went out and dug them for us. It was his gift to the community even though he himself would not eat them. He preferred hamburger.

I remember him traveling to Florida to deliver wine to retired priests. When his truck was emptied he would buy fruit for the community at Conesus.

Joachim, my friend, thank you for being you and for all the good you have shown to us and to others and may God have mercy and bless you and welcome you into His Heavenly kingdom, His good and faithful servant.

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